Calico Ghost Town Campground Review

Calico Ghost Town whispers a tale of boom and bust, a silver rush oasis that boomed in the late 1880s before fading into a dusty desert slumber. Today, this California Historical Landmark offers a unique blend of history, ghost town charm, and a surprisingly excellent and affordable campground – especially for off-road enthusiasts.

Haunts, History and Hot Wheels: Camping at Calico Ghost Town

We recently revisited Calico Ghost Town, and to our surprise, discovered a well-maintained campground nestled within the historic site. Having only explored the town itself years ago, we were pleasantly surprised to find spacious RV pads, many with full hookups, perfect for a comfortable stay.

A Mecca for Off-Road Adventurers

What truly sets Calico Ghost Town Campground apart is its dedication to the off-road vehicle (OHV) community. They offer a designated campground, aptly named “Campground O,” specifically catering to OHV enthusiasts. This section provides a central base for exploring the surrounding Mule Canyon and Odessa–Doran Loop, designated OHV areas with miles of challenging trails.

We opted for the A section, which offered a serene escape within walking distance of the ghost town and the historic Calico Cemetery. This provided the perfect balance of tranquility and easy access to the town’s many attractions.

Events and Entertainment Galore

Calico Ghost Town isn’t just about exploring the remnants of the past. Throughout the year, they host special events that breathe life into the ghost town. Be sure to check their calendar before you book your stay, as events like Calico Days, the Calico Bluegrass Festival, and California Days offer a festive atmosphere and unique experiences.

The month of October is especially popular for camping, when Calico celebrates its Ghost Haunt with trick-or-treating, costume contests, pumpkin carving and other events. Those staying at the campground can participate in their spooky decorated campsite contests.

For a truly spooky adventure, consider the Calico Haunted Ghost Tours. Imagine walking the dusty streets under a cloak of darkness, listening to tales of the town’s restless spirits!

Camping with Comfort and Convenience

Whether you’re a seasoned RV traveler or a tent camper, Calico Ghost Town Campground caters to your needs. The 265 campsites offer a range of options, from basic no-hookup tent sites to full-service hookups for RVs. Group tent camping areas are also available, perfect for a gathering of friends or family.

The campground boasts all the essentials for a comfortable stay, including hot showers, restrooms, fire rings and grills for those cozy camp nights, and two convenient dumping stations. At a very reasonable price point, ranging from $30 to $40 per night depending on your hookup needs, Calico Ghost Town Campground offers exceptional value for the unique experience.

Fueling Up for Adventure: Calico House Restaurant

No camping trip is complete without delicious meals, and Calico Ghost Town doesn’t disappoint. We started our day with a delightful breakfast at the Calico House Restaurant. This old time establishment boasts a spacious, rustic dining room and an inviting outdoor patio overlooking the silver mine and the Calico & Odessa Railroad.

Opening its doors early for campers at 8 a.m., the Calico House Restaurant provides the perfect fuel for a day of exploration. I indulged in their special Spam and Eggs plate and house-made biscuits and gravy, topped with a side of applewood smoked bacon. They also offer breakfast burritos, fried egg sandwiches, omelets, fluffy pancakes — and even Mimosas!

For lunch, the Calico House is renowned for their $18 juicy fried chicken dinners that come with your choice of vegetables, soup or salad, mashed potatoes or French fries, a roll, homemade pie and a soft drink. They also serve a variety of sandwiches and burgers such as smoked BBQ tri-tip or pulled pork sandwiches, 1/4-pound buffalo burgers, or classic pastrami on rye.

Don’t forget to quench your thirst on a hot day with their refreshing Micheladas or ice cold beer – the perfect pick-me-up for exploring the desert sun.

Lil’s Saloon

Craving a taste of the Old West? Lil’s Saloon offers a lively atmosphere with a large upper deck showcasing breathtaking views of the Calico hills and the iconic Bottle House. Step through the swinging doors and immerse yourself in the Wild West ambiance with classic gun displays and cowboy-themed oil paintings adorning the walls.

The Lil’s Saloon menu caters to a variety of tastes, offering loaded hot dogs, polish sausage with sauerkraut, and chicken wings tossed in your choice of sauce. For a truly authentic Old West touch, try their Sarsaparilla or a frosty Boysenberry Soda Float – a refreshing way to beat the desert heat.

We thoroughly enjoyed their Voodoo Ranger IPA on draft ($9.25) and their surprisingly affordable, delicious pizza. Whether you’re famished after a day of off-roading or simply looking for a lively lunch spot, Lil’s Saloon delivers.

The pizza comes with your choice of toppings, including pepperoni, sausage, jalapeños, bacon bits, olives, veggies or pickles. A slice is only $5 — unheard of these days! You can also opt for the personal size at $7, a 12-inch at $13.50, or get the 16-inch for $22.

Beyond Camping: Exploring Calico’s Hidden Gems

Calico Ghost Town isn’t just about the campground. History buffs will relish the opportunity to delve into the town’s fascinating past through the Maggie Mine Tours. Explore the tunnels where miners once toiled, and gain a deeper understanding of the silver rush era.

Those seeking a touch of mystery can test their wits at the Mystery Shack, a quirky attraction filled with mind-bending illusions and optical phenomena. For a chance to strike gold (well maybe Fool’s Gold), try your hand at gold panning. Kids and adults alike will have a blast sifting through the desert sand in search of hidden treasures.

History buffs can delve deeper at the Lucy Lane Museum, which houses a collection of artifacts and exhibits that tell the captivating story of Calico’s rise and fall. Don’t miss the ruins of the former Chinatown, a reminder of the town’s diverse population during its silver mining heyday.

The Calico Odessa Railroad has been running daily since 1958, taking visitors on an 8-minute tour around the town. You’ll see historical sites and mining equipment while hearing interesting stories about the area. Tickets are $5 for adults and $2.50 for children (ages 5-10), and kids under 4 ride for free! They are even pet-friendly so bring your furry companion along.

The Calico Ghost Town cemetery offers a glimpse into the lives of the miners, families, and others who built the town during the silver rush. While the exact number buried there remains unknown, early visitors found only piles of rocks marking the graves. In the 1950s, to attract tourists, park rangers added fictional stories to some markers. Later, researchers began the difficult task of identifying those truly buried there. Through their efforts, we now know about real people like the Cochran children, victims of a diphtheria outbreak, reminding us of the harsh realities of life in a 19th-century mining town.

Calico Ghost Tours

Looking for some spooky fun? Embark on a spooky adventure with Calico Ghost Tours! Choose from three exciting experiences, each lasting about 1 hour and 10 minutes and costing $22 per person.

The Main Street Ghost Tour offers a historical walk through town, exploring the legends and paranormal activity that linger along the way. Learn how the past may be connected to the present hauntings, perfect for curious visitors of all ages.

Want a more chilling experience? Join the Maggie Mine Ghost Tour and venture into the darkness of the mine itself, a location known for its high level of paranormal activity.

Finally, the School House Ghost Tour takes you to the most active area of the park. You’ll even get to go inside the schoolhouse and hear stories of the “younger spirits” of Calico. No matter which tour you choose, Calico Ghost Tours promise an unforgettable evening.

Calico Welcomes Your Canine Companions

The good news for dog lovers is that Calico Ghost Town is extremely dog-friendly! Your furry friend can join you on most of your adventures throughout the town. Both the Calico House Restaurant and Lil’s Saloon welcome leashed dogs on their spacious patios, so you can enjoy a meal together while soaking up the historic atmosphere.

Dorsey’s Dog House: Pampering Your Pooch

No need to worry about forgetting something for your furry companion – Calico Ghost Town has you covered. Dorsey’s Dog House, a charming shop located within the town, offers everything you might need to keep your pup happy and comfortable during your stay. From delicious homemade treats and squeaky toys to durable leashes and comfy travel bowls, Dorsey’s Dog House caters to every canine craving.

A Perfect Blend of Adventure and Relaxation

Calico Ghost Town Campground offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you’re an off-road enthusiast seeking challenging trails, a history buff hungry for knowledge, or simply a family yearning for a memorable adventure with your four-legged friend, Calico has something for everyone.

Calico Ghost Town Campground Map

Camping Fees at Calico Ghost Town campground are quite affordable. Currently, the nightly cost is $30 (no hookups), $35 (electric) or $40 (full hookups). Check in is at 3 p.m. and check out is 11:30 a.m. Click here to book your reservation. They also have RV rentals, which cost $160 per night for a 30-foot RV with full hookups. It’s important to note that there is no WiFi available, however cell service works fairly well. For more information, call 877.387.2757.

Combine the comfort of the well-maintained campground with the town’s many attractions, from spooky ghost tours to dining options that cater to both you and your pup, and you have a recipe for a perfect getaway. So, pack your bags, crank up your off-road vehicle (or not!), leash up your furry friend, and get ready to experience the captivating blend of history, hauntings, and hot wheels that awaits at Calico Ghost Town Campground.

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AboutJason Hill

Hi, I’m Jason Hill, host of YouTube’s “Chef Tips” series. I graduated from culinary school in 1998, and gained my experience working the lines in Southern California. I launched my cooking videos in 2007. I love sharing quick and easy recipes that get people back in the kitchen.

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